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ANNOUNCEMENT: International Symposium - Origins of Body Plans

[Thought that this might be of interest to some. Matt]

ANNOUNCEMENT: International Symposium on
The Origins of Animal Body Plans and Their Fossil Records
Kunming, China

(Call for pre-registration.  Please duplicate and post.)

From: Prof. Paul K. Chien, Department of Biology, University of San

Dear colleague,

An international symposium on the origin of animal body plans and
their fossil records is planned for June 20-25, 1999.  The symposium
will be held at the Hot Spring Hotel on the east shore of Fuxian
Lake, near Kunming, PRC, under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences.  The proceedings will be in English.  Contributed papers
will be published in a special volume in the year 2000.

The origin of basic patterns of anatomical organization, or body
plans, is a central question in evolutionary biology.  The relatively
sudden appearance of all major animal phyla in the fossil record, the
Cambrian explosion, focuses attention on how and how rapidly
body plans evolved.  The aim of this symposium is to bring together
interested scientists to evaluate the broader significance of recent
research in a variety of fields.  For example, the nearby Chengjiang
fauna is superbly preserved, and provides an unusually complete
record of early Cambrian fossils.  Its proximity in time to the
Cambrian explosion makes it especially relevant to understanding the
origin and evolution of animal body plans.

The finding of 580 million-year-old fossil animals in phosphate
deposits in Weng-an, Guizhuo, may also help to shed light on these
issues.  The Weng-an fauna includes eggs and embryos, preserved in
sufficient detail to make inferences about the developmental patterns
leading to the emergence of early body plans.  This symposium takes
an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of the origin
and evolution of animal body plans.  The organizers encourage not
only paleontologists and evolutionary biologists, but also
morphologists and developmental and molecular biologists, to attend
and contribute.  For example, this international gathering would be
an excellent opportunity to report on recent insights into the role
of Hox genes in body plan formation.  The presentation of a variety
of theoretical perspectives is especially encouraged.

The program will include opportunities to visit the fossil sites of
the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang fauna; to study sections of the
Cambrian/Precambrian interface at Meishucun, Jining; and to visit
the Field Station of Early Life Research Centre, which will hold an
exhibition of the Early Cambrian fossils from Chengjiang and Hai-kuo
as well as the Weng-an biota from Precambrian phosphates, Guizhou.  

Participants may also choose to make an optional pre-symposium
excursion June 17-19 to the Precambrian fossil site at Weng-an, and
to the Lower Cambrian fossil site at Zhijing, Guizhou, and/or a
post-symposium excursion June 26-30 to Dali and Lijiang (in
northwestern Yunnan, a region of attractive scenery which is home to
the rich culture of the Bai, Naxi and other minority peoples).

If you are interested in participating, (observers are also welcome)
and would like to receive further information, please respond, as
soon as possible, either to me or our Chinese host Prof. Junyuan
Chen, by email, fax or mail.

The printed circular will be sent by mail to those who require it.
Your Name:    (first name)     (middle name)     (last name)
Email:                        Fax:                        Telephone:
Pre-symposium excursion:  yes,   maybe,   or no?
Post-symposium excursion:  yes,   maybe,   or no?
Will you present a lecture?  If so, what is the provisional title?     
With best regards,

Prof. Paul K. Chien
Department of Biology
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street,
San Francisco, CA 94117, USA;
email: chienp@usfca.edu; fax:415-422-6363; telephone:415-422-6755


Prof. Junyuan Chen
Field Station of Early Life Research Centre,
Sanjiacun, Jinning, Kunming 650612. P. R.CHINA
email: chenjy@jlonline.com; fax: 0871-788-1037; telephone: